Chelsea had the better chances in the game against Bournemouth but failed to make them count.
The despondent full-time scenes and their cause has become a familiar story for Chelsea. There were boos from some Chelsea fans at the final whistle at the Vitality Stadium. The disappointment of yet more dropped points and a second successive failure to score set in on and off the pitch.
Thiago Silva encapsulated the mood among Mauricio Pochettino’s players – stern-faced expression on his face, staring at the ground.
Substitute Ben Chilwell was among the first players to reach the tunnel after his attempt to apologize to the away supporters backfired. All he got from some were jeers in return.
He was quickly followed off the pitch by his teammates, most with their heads bowed.
More of the same was the reason for the anger emanating from the away section and downbeat body language from Chelsea’s stars.
All that money spent in the summer – around £400m – has done little to change Chelsea’s fortunes so far.
On the back of just one win in their final 11 league games of last season, Chelsea have added just one more from their opening five games of this season. And that came against Premier League new boys Luton Town.
They have only collected three points five times this year. Their return, in short, is nowhere near what was expected.
And nor would it have been hoped, once the latest transfer spree was concluded, that goalkeeper Robert Sanchez would be the main reason they were able to add to their points tally.
Two brilliant saves from the Spaniard meant this trip to the south coast was not even worse for Chelsea.
In defence of their season so far, Pochettino pointed to the impact of Chelsea’s injury woes.
They worsened further ahead of this trip to Bournemouth. Moises Caicedo and Noni Madueke returned from international duty with issues and Marc Cucurella fell ill.
There were 12 players missing yesterday in total. Their bench contained six players who have never played a Chelsea first-team game before, including two goalkeepers.
The concern is the one attacking player on the list who might be reasonably expected to come in and have a big and instant impact on their goal threat is Christopher Nkunku. Unfortunately, he will not be back and available to make a difference for some time.
Without him and others, Chelsea toiled badly once again at Bournemouth.
The Cherries themselves are still waiting for their first three points of the season under Andoni Iraola. However, they would have left in more positive spirits than Chelsea after claiming a first clean sheet of the season and finishing in the ascendancy.
Chelsea came especially close to breaking the deadlock twice in the first half.
Mykhailo Mudryk, on his first start of the season, combined well with Nicolas Jackson who hit the post from outside the box with a slightly-scuffed shot.
Conor Gallagher also forced Bournemouth goalkeeper Neto, who matched Sanchez with two key stops, into a sharp save down low to his right shortly before half-time after also being teed up by Mudryk.
There were also first half sights of goal for Enzo Fernandez, another for Gallagher and one for Raheem Sterling.
But, equally, Bournemouth could have found themselves ahead were it not for an impressive intervention from Sanchez, a sprawling block to deny Dango Ouattara after Chelsea had switched off from a quick Cherries free-kick.
Chelsea thought they had opened the scoring six minutes into the second half when Sterling’s near inch-perfect free-kick came back out off the woodwork and Levi Colwill converted the rebound.
Unfortunately for Chelsea and the young defender his celebrations of his first Blues goal were cut short as he was flagged offside.
A period of Bournemouth pressure followed before Chelsea settled and regained control again.
But for all their continued dominance the visitors’ failure to score left them vulnerable while Bournemouth gained encouragement heading into the final 20 minutes.
Justin Kluivert created a promising situation with a cross from the right but Dominic Solanke’s attempted overhead kick appeared to distract teammate Marcus Tavernier.
Philip Biling had a free-kick deflected wide and Solanke drew another brilliant stop from Sanchez. He collected Biling’s cut back and fired goalwards through Chelsea bodies.
Sanchez had dived, anticipating the shot to his left, but stuck out his right leg to keep the ball out. Solanke then headed another attempt over soon after.
Back on the attack came Chelsea. Palmer led a break and appeared to over-hit his pass wide to Sterling but he managed to dig out a cross, returning the ball to his former Manchester City teammate.
Palmer connected with it well on the volley but Neto stuck up an arm to keep the ball out. Ian Maatsen appealed in vain for a penalty after his follow-up volley was blocked.
So too did Bournemouth when Solanke’s header hit Axel Disasi before the game petered out.